T Nation


Does anyone out there recognize the different types of shoulders? I’ve notice that some body-builders have square upright shoulders and others have drop foward shoulders. Both of these types manage to find ways to look relatively the same over all. Do any of you out there have drop foward shoulders? They seem to sit foward and lower in the socket. Delts at first might look smaller on these shoulders (especially outer delts) but a closer look shows that this not always true. How do you out there with drop foward shoulders increase your visual “width”? I was thinking that working the rear delts and the upper lats might help. Any suggestions?

Larry Scott had a program that had you doing face down incline laterial raises, bent over laterials and rope pulls to the chin (Check the last 10 exercises you have never tried). Also I like to do seated wide grip rows, and most of the back exercises in the power look article will help pull your shoulders back. And another thing, remember to stretch thoe Pecs. Best of Luck.

Tonight I just did “very” wide grip pull downs, 45 degree wide grip rows, and rear delt flys. Those seemed to do the trick in pulling my shoulders back while pushing my chest foward. I’m going to look into what you suggested. I really do need to pull my shoulders back more. I feel like this would be easier accomplished if I could somehow expand my rib cage in the front. Is that possible? Can certain types of conditioning and stretchs have that effect?

I think you’re on the right track. It’s very common for lifters to concentrate on pushing exercises and neglect pulling, creating a muscular imbalance. The dominant pushing muscles, pecs and front delts, tend to pull the shoulders forward. This happened to me, too. I began putting pulling exercises first in my routine, and added horizontal pulling (seat rows for example). Search for GEEK BACK TRAINING and IMBALANCE for good articles. By the time you can pull as much as you can push, your posture and upper back thickness will be first-rate!

Good for you. While you are most likely to old to do any major expanison on your ribcage, you can adjust your posture. Try this. First stretch your pecs, the do light breathing Dumbbell pulovers across a bench. Go for the stretch, not weight. Second exercise is grap a vertical bar with both hand at face level. Take several deep breaths and push you chest up. Third exercise is to use a hammer or some other rowing machine and do what I call center trap shrugs. Grap the handles with your arms stretched forward. Now keeping your arms straight squeeze your shoulder blades together and hold. Practice side chest poses and try and be aware of you posture at all times. Best of Luck.

Both of you know exactly what I am talking about! OlderLifter- I like that center trap shrug AND I need something like that. My upper traps are ridiculously huge but my lower or center traps are virtually non-existant. That move will help beyond comprehension! Also for a long time I worked on outer delts for width now I am realizing that rear delts have even more to do with width than outer delts! Since I’ve been working my upper lats and rear delts lately (virtually ignoreing the rest of my shoulder for the time being) I’ve already noticed more width. The key I think is my center traps. Once I have that mass on my rear delts and upper lats I need to pull it back using my upper-center back! It all fits! Thanks a million to both of you!

It was chest day today so I decided to work my chest with my back in mind. I did those center trap shrugs just like you said (OlderLifter). Next inclines allowing for the bar to come all the way down and nearly rest on my chest for the maximum stretch. Next I did the pec deck and I set the dec itself back further than my shoulders so it pulled my chest out and foward between my arms. This hurt like hell! Finally I did cable declines and let the cable pull my arms back fully outstretched on the last rep for a 10 second hold. This also hurt like hell. But, no injury and I came walking out 25 minutes later having increased my incline by 10 lbs and my chest stuck out like a proud rooster!!! My shoulders were closer to sitting on top of my rib cage as well. Being extremely aware of the muscle groups I just worked out on the way home I realized that if I sit in a chair with my butt touching the back and my shoulder blades both evenly touching the chair I have the correct posture. This makes my chest almost too big! I was almost completely unaware. I just did upper lats and rear delts yesterday and this follow up made them even tighter and much more sore even though I did not really work them. Yet again it all comes together!

You workout sounds good. However, Don’t stretch the pecs using a heavy weight! Go light and learn to relax into the stretch. Also two exercises directly for the lower traps: 1) Sit under the pulldown bar and squeeze the shoulder blades down and back while keeping the arms straight. 2)Position yourself on a set of dip bars and allow your body to sink while your arms remain locked. Now push out your chest and “shrug” your body as high as possible focusing on pulling you shoulder blades back and down. Both these exercises directly work the lower traps.
For all you readers out there, I recommend that you get yourself a copy of the Human Anatomy Coloring book. In it’s section on muscles is shows the lines of force for each muscle. If you are really into to this then go out and take a courseor buy a book on Kinesology, even more advanced the Morphology of Physics. Best of Luck.

Your suggestion to get a coloring book on human anatomy is great! I already have done this so that I could see how muscle groups overlap and what points would receive maximum stress. It actually made me realize why flexors and extensors respond to different types of lifting. Generally flexors have no joint that they over-lap. When flexed they do not have the pressure of bone across their surface. This lack of pressure makes them more responsive to explosive low rep sets. Extensors on the other hand have pressure applied from joints and bone itself. This theoretically could cause more stress on the fibers themselves kind of like a person working leather over a ball to stretch it out. So lower slower reps are more effective. That’s my simple theory…

Good for you, RS! Best of Luck.

In addition to some of the great suggestions already given here, I thought I would add a quick two cents. I saw an ART practitioner last year for some work on my back. She noticed that my shoulders were sitting too far forward, and we discussed some options on correcting the problem. She suggested that the strength and size of the large muscles in my upper back were not the problem, nor did I have a bad imbalance between my pushing strength and pulling strength. I just needed to focus on pulling my shoulders back throughout the day. For example, when I’m at my desk, I’m usually using my mouse and my shoulder is rounded and forward. When I’m driving, my right hand usually sits on the shifter and my shoulder is forward and rounded. When I’m holding my beer…anyway, you get the point. The best way to fix it is to pull your shoulders back, focusing on using the small muscles in the middle of your back rather than just rotating your shoulders, throughout the day. It’s tough to do, but it works. Eventually, you can train those muscles to hold your shoulders more upright.

Absolutely! Just the whole focus that I am placing on them causes me to do that more and more often. This whole thread has made me think that there may be a more optimum manner in which a beginning builder could focus. Basically I think that the back (upper and lower) should be the first focus. Next the chest. These two provide stability for the shoulders. Following then the priority drops to the shoulders given the new found stability. Lastly the arms only after the shoulders can provide enough stability for them (also your arms tend to get worked while doing the back, shoulders, and chest anyway). This order of priority also tends to develop proper symtrey no manner what weight class. There would always be exceptions…